Why NOW is the time to switch energy provider

Autumn has arrived, and as we drag out the waterproof coats and winter boots, the energy firms are no doubt thinking of how best to break the news that they’ll be putting prices up again.

The good news is, it only takes five minutes to switch from a standard tariff to a competitive fixed rate, fixed term tariff – a move which could save you money now and insulate you against price rises in the coming months.

To put into context just how much you can save, MoneySuperMarket analysis shows that customers who stay on their energy providers’ standard tariff are missing out on savings to the tune of £2billion.

So just how are we collectively throwing away so much?

Don’t be complacent

Complacency is one of the major reasons why customers are seeing so much of their money going up in smoke, with an estimated 12.6million consumers currently languishing on standard energy tariffs.

These tariffs are the ones customers will be on if they have never switched, and are subject to seasonal price hikes. They are also the ones customers are immediately switched to once their fixed price plan has ended.

As the name suggests, a fixed price tariff locks in a price for each unit of energy you use for the length of the contract. That means you sidestep any price rises during the term of the deal.

You wouldn’t benefit from any price reductions either – but energy prices are only heading in one direction at the moment, and it isn’t down.

In addition, almost half (5.6million) of those on standard tariffs are paying quarterly via cash or cheque, which is the most expensive way to pay as most providers will offer discounts to customers who pay by monthly direct debit.

Clare Francis, editor-in-chief at MoneySuperMarket, said: “The figures show that complacency certainly doesn’t pay and households need to take action now before the threat of price rises becomes a reality. If you are not currently paying by direct debit, you could save up to £200 now by moving to a dual fuel tariff or two single fuel tariffs, making sure that you pay by direct debit.

“We are expecting a round of price hikes to hit this winter and, if they are anything like last year, standard variable monthly direct debit customers will pay 6.1 per cent (£77) more, with quarterly cash/cheque customers paying 4.7 per cent more (£63).”

So how exactly do you go about switching?

How to switch and save

Switching energy provider with MoneySuperMarket really is no more than a five minute job, with just two forms to fill in or a quick chat with one of our energy experts if you prefer.

To get things moving along as quickly as possible, there are a few pieces of information you’ll need to have to hand. They are:

  • Your postal and email address
  • The name of your current energy provider
  • The name of your current tariff (and details of any Economy 7 plan for electricity)
  • How you currently pay for your energy, for example, by cash/cheque or direct debit
  • Bank account details
  • Annual energy usage (in kWh) or how much you spend on energy each month – our calculator will help you work out your energy usage if you haven’t got the figure to hand.

Once you have completed the forms you will be given a rundown of energy providers, along with details of how much you’ll save by switching to each of them.

tbc

When you decide upon a deal you’re happy with, you can apply to have your energy switched online, and that’s your part of the switching process complete.

Within the next couple of weeks you should receive a welcome pack from your new supplier, a final bill from your old supplier, and within four to six weeks the switch will have taken place and you can benefit from cheaper energy bills. (You’ll have a minimum seven-day cooling off period in which you can change your mind from the moment you initiate the switch.)

For a more detailed breakdown of the switching process, check out Mark Hooson’s article Your step-by-step guide to switching energy provider.

And if you want to tie down your energy prices for as long as possible, here are the longest fixed term deals currently on the market (the average cost of a standard tariff settled by cash or cheque each quarter is £1,314.90):
 

Provider

Tariff name

Tariff Type

Average price

npower

Price Protector March 2017

Fixed

£1,341.36

Scottish Power

Fixed Price Energy February 2016

Fixed

£1,301.67

EDF Energy

Blue+ Price Freeeeze November 2016

Fixed

£1,349.65

Sourced by http://www.moneysupermarket.com/ 06.09.2013

* Up to 10% can save at least £244.64, MoneySupermarket data based on sales. June 2013

Did you enjoy that? Why not share this article

SAVE MONEY NOW

Other articles you might like

Popular guides